The Average Salary of a Small Cattle Farmer

Fluctuating prices in the beef market influence a cattle farmers income.
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If you have access to a few acres of rural pastureland, you may have the ideal situation to raise beef cattle. Small beef cattle farms are a way for landowners to supplement their income. For people that work way from home, a beef enterprise is a low labor way to utilize their land. Raising your own beef ensures quality meat without the addition of toxic chemicals or hormones that may be present in commercially produced beef. Cattle farming is attractive to individuals who have the needed resources, land and time to invest to make farming pay. The average salary of a small cattle farmer depends largely on beef prices and the size of the herd.

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Cattle Farmer Salary

Are you wondering, how much does a farmer make? The income of cattle farmers and ranchers fluctuates from year-to-year, and is dependent on the market price of feeder cattle or dairy products and market demand. Cattle and dairy farmers may receive government subsidies that reduce a portion of the risk of raising cattle. Many small cattle farmers supplement their income with off-farm sources.

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The United States Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that in 2008 full-time salaried farmers, ranches and agricultural managers had an average annual salary of ​$73,060​. In this category, the highest 10 percent of workers earned a farmer salary of more than ​$126,330​, and the lowest 10 percent of earners took in less than ​$38,200​ per year. According to other data from Salary.com, the average salary of a farmer of any type is ​$44,710​.

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Job Description of Cattle Farmers

Dairy and livestock farmers feed, water and care for animals. They maintain equipment, repair barns, pens and farm outbuildings. They choose animals to breed and sell. A cattle farmer's work is never done as cattle must be fed and watered daily, pens cleaned and the animal's health monitored.

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Dairy cows must be milked daily. Cattle farmers manage the health of their herd and may assist in the birthing process. A cattle farmer's net profit or annual income is reduced by the amount they expend for veterinary services. Many farmers learn how to take care of many of the medical needs of their herd to avoid these charges.

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Qualifications for Cattle Farming

Cattle farming is hard work and requires a level of physical fitness. Previous experience working on a family farm fosters the work ethic and habits required in a small cattle operation. A large cattle farm requires an intense amount of labor.

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In some cases, family members may be needed to help with cattle management chores. Farmers, who must hire outside help, will find their income reduced by labor costs.

Education for Cattle Farmers

Small cattle farmers may learn what they need to know on the job, although some farmers gain knowledge by attending a technical school or community college that offers a degree program in agriculture, farm management or animal science.

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Farmers, trained and educated in farm management, are likely to net a higher income than those without a farming background or education.

In some cases, on-the-job training and experience growing up around cattle farming may be enough to help a farmer understand the requirements of this line of work.

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